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← An atheist in the White House? Why not, it's happened before

An atheist in the White House? Why not, it's happened before - Comments

Ai Deng's Avatar Comment 1 by Ai Deng

Of course, Old Abe didn't remain non-religious.

Tue, 14 Dec 2010 15:17:25 UTC | #563142

Linda Ward's Avatar Comment 2 by Linda Ward

Wikileaks has shown the DNA of political speak and that public figures will pose for portraits with bibles* while slipping backstage and having a laugh about how easy it is to mesmerize peasants with superstition & fancy dress rituals.

  • Any book of magical rites can be slipped in here to fit a specific national psyche.
  • Tue, 14 Dec 2010 15:44:31 UTC | #563153

    Stewart's Avatar Comment 3 by Stewart

    Admittedly, Jefferson was more of a deist than an all-out atheist. However, Darwin's majestic theory of evolution by natural selection would sadly not be published in his lifetime. Considering Jefferson's brilliant scientific mind, being aware of and understanding that theory may have pushed him strongly into atheist territory.

    Meaning that he is unlikely to have become a full-blown atheist until his afterlife.

    Tue, 14 Dec 2010 15:46:18 UTC | #563155

    SaganTheCat's Avatar Comment 4 by SaganTheCat

    Lincoln, the man who signed the Emancipation Proclamation into law, was also not consoled by supernatural ideas. After the death of his son he was understandably devastated. One of the reasons for this despair was the idea that there was no 'next life' after this one. He believed his son was gone forever and dismissed any notion of an afterlife (a view that was not shared by his wife, who tried all kinds of supernatural ideas in order to feel a connection with her lost child). Lincoln never made any public pronouncements of faith, yet is still regarded by a vast number of Americans as the greatest president the nation has ever had.

    Very interesting

    anyone remember this little outburst? so being the "land of Lincoln" doesn't mean people believe in god...

    http://richarddawkins.net/audio/2441-get-out-of-here-atheists

    here's my interpretation:

    http://soundcloud.com/daniel-clear/dangerous-philosophy

    Tue, 14 Dec 2010 15:59:34 UTC | #563163

    Hideous Dwarf's Avatar Comment 5 by Hideous Dwarf

    In Britain we at least have a deputy Prime Minister who is an avowed athiest, but the best of it is that hardly anyone on this side of the Pond cares one way or the other. After the misery we suffered under that good Christian Blair and 'Son of the Manse' Brown I would imagine that a future declared heathen would be a dead cert for the premiership.

    Tue, 14 Dec 2010 16:01:32 UTC | #563165

    rsharvey's Avatar Comment 6 by rsharvey

    Comment 3 by Stewart :

    Haha. Nice

    Tue, 14 Dec 2010 16:02:58 UTC | #563166

    The Plc's Avatar Comment 7 by The Plc

    It's plausible that there may already be an Athiest in the White House. Obama appears too smart and educated to accept that seriously, and going by his memoirs, his upbringing was a secular one of critical independence rather than religious indoctrination.

    Tue, 14 Dec 2010 16:33:30 UTC | #563186

    Linda Ward's Avatar Comment 8 by Linda Ward

    @ Hideous Dwarf

    Nick Clegg may have declared as an Atheist however his wife is a 'devout' Catholic Cult practitioner and their over supply of children (4) are sent for indoctrination into that religion. Will the runner up P.M. recant Atheism and like Blair join the dark forces from the Vatican too?

    Tue, 14 Dec 2010 16:44:52 UTC | #563192

    locka's Avatar Comment 9 by locka

    Who wants to be lead by someone who actually believes there is a magic voice who speaks or works through them? Not just says it as a sop to their religious followers but actually believes it??

    It would be extremely encouraging and positive if politicians didn't feel obliged to pander to religion at all. Either they're good at their jobs or they're not and if asked the question they should give an honest answer. Some politicians like Julia Gillard and Nick Clegg have "come out" and it's about time others did too.

    Tue, 14 Dec 2010 16:56:06 UTC | #563197

    josephor's Avatar Comment 10 by josephor

    The religious faith in the white house is not real and none of the recent presidents believed in a God. Religion is a political strategy nothing else.It's going to take sometime before a non closet-atheist will present a serious challenge to the Whitehouse.

    Tue, 14 Dec 2010 16:59:18 UTC | #563200

    Tintern's Avatar Comment 11 by Tintern

    I bet Nick Clegg wishes there was a god now to get him out of the tuition fees mess.

    Tue, 14 Dec 2010 17:00:51 UTC | #563203

    SaganTheCat's Avatar Comment 12 by SaganTheCat

    @Timtern at least Nick Glegg is used to coming home to his wife and kids who look at him like he's going to hell

    Tue, 14 Dec 2010 17:05:57 UTC | #563204

    scotsman2010's Avatar Comment 13 by scotsman2010

    Comment 10 by josephor :

    The religious faith in the white house is not real and none of the recent presidents believed in a God. Religion is a political strategy nothing else.It's going to take sometime before a non closet-atheist will present a serious challenge to the Whitehouse.

    Are you really sure that's true of George W Bush, josephor?

    Tue, 14 Dec 2010 17:07:18 UTC | #563206

    DocWebster's Avatar Comment 14 by DocWebster

    If George W is a christian then I'm Jimi Hendrix. I play the guitar, badly. He adheres to ethics and principals, very badly.

    Tue, 14 Dec 2010 17:54:26 UTC | #563227

    josephor's Avatar Comment 15 by josephor

    Are you really sure that's true of George W Bush, josephor?

    He more than any, he embraced religion only for politics.

    Tue, 14 Dec 2010 18:07:52 UTC | #563231

    Veronique's Avatar Comment 16 by Veronique

    I also have to smile at Stewart's comment.

    Very nice. V

    Tue, 14 Dec 2010 18:16:40 UTC | #563237

    crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 17 by crookedshoes

    I will never be president. I simply have too many skeletons in my closet. I however have toured the whitehouse, so, for a few hours one day there was, in fact, an atheist in the whitehouse. Now, being a bit cynical, I am apt to believe that most of the religious behavior by politicians is posturing and photo ops so that shitheads will vote for them. Same reason they really do not want to "fix" education in the US. The fix it, this creates a thinking electorate, then NO RE-ELECTION!!! fools in office need fools as voters.

    I look around and realize that half the people I see are below average. That's the half that politicians are "massaging". I mean, you should experience some of the political adverts on our television.

    Tue, 14 Dec 2010 18:47:41 UTC | #563246

    The Plc's Avatar Comment 18 by The Plc

    Comment 10 by josephor :

    The religious faith in the white house is not real and none of the recent presidents believed in a God. Religion is a political strategy nothing else.It's going to take sometime before a non closet-atheist will present a serious challenge to the Whitehouse.

    Actually, there is evidence that Bush expressed his extreme religiosity in private, away from the prying eyes of the public. The most famous example was when Chirac, the President of France, revealed a bonkers outburst from him during a meeting.

    http://www.dangerousminds.net/comments/the_burning_bush_eorge_w._bush_told_french_president_jacques_chirac_in/

    Now out of office, Chirac recounts that the American leader appealed to their “common faith” (Christianity) and told him: “Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East…. The biblical prophecies are being fulfilled…. This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins.”

    This bizarre episode occurred while the White House was assembling its “coalition of the willing” to unleash the Iraq invasion. Chirac says he was boggled by Bush’s call and “wondered how someone could be so superficial and fanatical in their beliefs.”

    After the 2003 call, the puzzled French leader didn’t comply with Bush’s request. Instead, his staff asked Thomas Romer, a theologian at the University of Lausanne, to analyze the weird appeal. Dr. Romer explained that the Old Testament book of Ezekiel contains two chapters (38 and 39) in which God rages against Gog and Magog, sinister and mysterious forces menacing Israel. Jehovah vows to smite them savagely, to “turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws,” and slaughter them ruthlessly. In the New Testament, the mystical book of Revelation envisions Gog and Magog gathering nations for battle, “and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.”

    In 2007, Dr. Romer recounted Bush’s strange behavior in Lausanne University’s review, Allez Savoir. A French-language Swiss newspaper, Le Matin Dimanche, printed a sarcastic account titled: “When President George W. Bush Saw the Prophesies of the Bible Coming to Pass.” France’s La Liberte likewise spoofed it under the headline “A Small Scoop on Bush, Chirac, God, Gog and Magog.” But other news media missed the amazing report.

    Subsequently, ex-President Chirac confirmed the nutty event in a long interview with French journalist Jean-Claude Maurice, who tells the tale in his new book, Si Vous le Répétez, Je Démentirai (If You Repeat it, I Will Deny), released in March by the publisher Plon.

    So, yes, Bush's particular religious nuttiness did appear to be genuine, though obviously I agree with the above poster, he conveniently ignored some of the decent moral precepts articulated by his saviour Jesus.

    Tue, 14 Dec 2010 19:22:17 UTC | #563271

    Stevehill's Avatar Comment 19 by Stevehill

    He missed out Adams and Madison. And also, arguably, Obama.

    Quite a lot of other non-theists too.

    Tue, 14 Dec 2010 19:55:38 UTC | #563294

    josephor's Avatar Comment 20 by josephor

    Comment 18 by Plc Thanks for the information both amusing and terrifying.

    Tue, 14 Dec 2010 19:57:20 UTC | #563296

    gos's Avatar Comment 21 by gos

    Iceland: Lesbian atheist prime minister. Do we win?

    Tue, 14 Dec 2010 20:15:52 UTC | #563306

    Letsbereasonable's Avatar Comment 22 by Letsbereasonable

    Comment 10 by josephor :

    The religious faith in the white house is not real and none of the recent presidents believed in a God. Religion is a political strategy nothing else.It's going to take sometime before a non closet-atheist will present a serious challenge to the Whitehouse.

    I'm inclined to agree with this. Religion is the flow and politicians go with it or go back to proper jobs. Photogenic families are also mandated, so they acquire those too. Everything in America is just a matter of the going price.

    Tue, 14 Dec 2010 20:38:48 UTC | #563316

    baon's Avatar Comment 23 by baon

    I don't see the point of writing an article that presents a thesis in the title and then lists three examples that each have to be qualified as not really fitting the thesis as its only support... Is the author trying to make a point that atheists are disingenuous? I, for one, would never knowingly advance such a shoddy argument.

    Politicians routinely pretend to be other than they actually are. I think most people know this. When it comes to religion, while it is possible to make a distinction between those who honestly professes a faith and those who merely pretend... in the end the distinction doesn't mean much because, in a social setting, both professions have the same result. Unless, of course, the pretender is a horrible actor who is easily seen through. But even in such a case, it is the acquiescence displayed which has the greater social function, not the sincerity, or lack thereof, of the professor.

    Tue, 14 Dec 2010 20:45:25 UTC | #563318

    Stewart's Avatar Comment 24 by Stewart

    Thanks, Veronique and rsharvey, but I was only the straight man. Tony Hudson did the funny stuff. I must say, though, I'm quite taken by the idea of someone only turning atheist once he's arrived in heaven.

    Tue, 14 Dec 2010 20:51:52 UTC | #563321

    chawinwords's Avatar Comment 25 by chawinwords

    Presently, in the U.S., the first five presidents of the U.S., plus Lincoln, T. Roosevelt and even Dwight Eisenhower, wouldn't stand the chance of an ice cube in hell as far as being elected in today's U.S.

    The U.S. today is almost totally devoid of such deep thinkers, and like many older people, suffers from a form of dementia. Just consider the difference in depth of writings and enlightenment!

    Before someone jumps on my butt, the reason Eisenhower can't be reelected is not because of his intellectual depth, but because he did not adhere to fundamentalist religious nuttiness.

    Tue, 14 Dec 2010 21:15:41 UTC | #563329

    drgoode's Avatar Comment 26 by drgoode

    Thomas Jefferson did employ supernatural support:

    "Believe me, dear Sir: there is not in the British empire a man who more cordially loves a union with Great Britain than I do. But, by the God that made me, I will cease to exist before I yield to a connection on such terms as the British Parliament propose; and in this, I think I speak the sentiments of America." (wikipedia)

    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." (declaration of independence)

    George Washington did employ supernatural support:

    "Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station; it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official Act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the Universe, who presides in the Councils of Nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the People of the United States, a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes: and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success, the functions allotted to his charge. " (first inaugural address archives.gov)

    Washington and Jefferson were not atheist.

    Where they pious enough to be elected into office today? Very likely, yes because they, like President Obama, have the leadership skills, orator skills, and the intellect necessary to win debates and voting support.

    President Obama is not an atheist. I take him as his word regarding this, and observe his actions of submitting his children to church.

    I see no inconsistency between President W Bush's actions and the teachings of Jesus. IE: those who do not follow god and jesus are without value according to the old and new testaments.

    Tue, 14 Dec 2010 22:16:25 UTC | #563365

    katt33's Avatar Comment 27 by katt33

    In the quotes and information I have found, the founders of the Republic may have had a belief in a deity, but were not fond of organized religion and some were downright hostile to the bible. That is often overlooked, and there is "endowed by our creator" phrase in the Declaration of Independence, but it should be noted that in the Constitution that was taken out and the establishment clause put in.

    Tue, 14 Dec 2010 22:18:01 UTC | #563368

    Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 28 by Stafford Gordon

    Good article. I played Abraham Lincoln and read eveything I could about him.

    Not only were he and Darwin born on the same day, but they both became, by widely different routes, non believers, both lost children, their wives, Emma and Mary, both believed they would see their deceased children again in the afterlife, both couples struggled to keep their love alive, and both succeeded.

    I just love coincidence!

    Tue, 14 Dec 2010 22:35:46 UTC | #563377

    scotsman2010's Avatar Comment 29 by scotsman2010

    Comment 15 by josephor :

    Are you really sure that's true of George W Bush, josephor?

    He more than any, he embraced religion only for politics.

    I'm not disputing what you say. Just curious as to the basis on which you say it?

    Tue, 14 Dec 2010 22:50:54 UTC | #563382

    xmaseveeve's Avatar Comment 30 by xmaseveeve

    Comment 9 locka,

    'Some politicians like Julia Gillard and Nick Clegg have "come out" and it's about time others did too.'

    It's don't ask, don't tell.

    Comment 18, The Plc,

    'a bonkers outburst from him during a meeting.'

    Which makes Bush infinitely more scary. It wouldn't be his fault if the world ended, but his destiny.

    Wed, 15 Dec 2010 00:44:58 UTC | #563436